Mazal tov! As of next June, Saudi women will be permitted to drive as much as their male counterparts do.
Officially, the Saudi Press Agency has announced the news that the ruling King Salman has issued a royal decree:
“Royal Order to Adopt Provisions of Traffic Law, Executive regulations, including Issuance of Driving Licenses for Males, Females, alike…”
We refer to the negative consequences of not allowing women to drive vehicles and the positive aspects of allowing it to do so, taking into consideration the application of the necessary legal controls and adherence to them.
We also refer to the view of the majority of the members of the senior scholars on the driving of women of vehicles that the legitimacy of this is in terms of origin, is permissibility that the views of the reservation are focused on considerations related to blocking the possible pretexts that do not reach the certainty and the predominance of the thought do not see impediment to allow it to drive vehicles, in the light of finding guarantees of legitimacy and order necessary to avoid those pretexts, even if they were within the scope of doubtful possibility.
The state is – with the help of God – guardian of the values and of legitimacy, it is the preservation and care in the list of priorities, whether in this matter or another, will not hesitate to take all that would maintain the security and safety of society.
We adopt the application of the provisions of the Traffic Law and its Executive Regulations – including the issuance of driving licenses – to both males and females, and to form a high-level committee of ministries of (internal affairs, finance, labor and social development) to study the necessary arrangements for enforcement; the implementation shall be – God willing – as of 10/10/1439 AH, in accordance with the approved Sharia and regulations and completion of what is required by it.
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
22:25 LOCAL TIME 19:25 GMT
So, finally, it has happened on this 26 September 2017.
Empowering Saudi Women
To be sure, there was no law forbidding the modest Muslim women of Saudi Arabia to drive. Nonetheless, a religious edict had forbidden them from driving, up until now.
Male dominance in Saudi as well as in other Muslim lands has implied that their female folk had to survive in subtle ways to overcome their quasi-slave status.
As a rather frequent observer in the region, I could see-through the delicate acrobatics performed by women.
Not surprisingly, women from the Saudi society’s upscale layers have been inclined to establish a modus vivendi whereby they would please their men but also please themselves.
Thus, underneath the rigorous black burkas and abayas, one could find great designer blue jeans, bags, and accessories worthy of princesses taken out from the One Thousand and One Nights.
But that’s the superficial part of the story.
Saudi Women’s Real Challenge
I was once invited to participate in a women’s in business gathering in Dubai.
While the other two western participants were keen in emphasizing the need to empower women, I devoted my time to address the need for them to take the responsibility to educate their children.
It is from the hands of these women that an essential part of a real reform in Islam must come.
As mothers, they can instill in their progeny human values that are so evidently missing in Muslim societies. That was my advice to them.
I also recommended they should keep their children busy with supervised after-school activities such as sports, the study of languages, music, mathematics, and other. This part is reminiscent of our Western style
Why is Saudi Allowing their Women to Drive Now?
They could have done it with any other pro-Saudi-American president, such as Clinton, Bush, or Obama. But they did it under Trump. Why?
Four months after his inauguration, President Trump chose the destination of his first trip: Saudi Arabia.
The astute President camouflaged it under the wrapping of a multi-religious tour to the main three places where the corresponding three Abrahamic religions in Saudi Arabia, Israel, and The Vatican.
It took Trump only 120 days to begin his national business plan while making his first baby steps into the area of Globalism.
Without any forewarning and even less wasting time, Trump threw in the Saudi wish basket, a different arms deal.
“The United States sealed multi-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia; the White House announced on Saturday, a move that solidifies its decades-long alliance with the world’s largest oil exporter just as President Donald Trump begins his maiden trip abroad as leader of the free world.
The agreement, which is worth $350 billion over ten years and $110 billion that will take effect immediately, was hailed by the White House as “a significant expansion of…[the] security relationship” between the two countries.
Simultaneously, Saudi Arabia is in a broad-based push for economic reform, and as part of that effort signed a flurry of deals with private U.S. companies worth tens of billions of dollars.
Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest defense contractors whose technology was part of the U.S-Saudi accord, said in a statement that the deal “will directly contribute to [Saudi Arabia’s] Vision 2030 by opening the door for thousands of highly skilled jobs in new economic sectors.””
It was as expected, another Trump clever move. Has it anything to do with this new development that improved at least in one area the existence of Saudi women? A coincidence? Maybe.
On the other hand, one notable Saudi is billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, co-owner of Fox News, Wall Street Journal and more broadly, News Corp, just to mention a few.
“Let Women Drive,” urged the prince who has no seat in the government of his country but whose wealth gives him a national stature and, abroad, a prestigious international platform.
Here a tweet from the prince sharing his enthusiasm for Saudi women’s access to drivers license just as men can.
After all, driving a car is not as important as the abolition of child-brides, honor killing, female mutilation, stoning or beheading, just to mention a few instances where the Koran and sharia law rule.